After tornado, grateful Oak Grove community hosts celebration

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OAK GROVE, Mo. -- Dozens of people left homeless by a tornado, may not sound like reason to celebrate, but that’s exactly what they did in Oak Grove Friday night, thankful everyone escaped the powerful EF-3 tornado with their lives.

“Thank you for sparing lives and protecting us and God for many people the journey is just beginning,” Pastor Todd Blansit prayed in front of a crowd of tornado victims and volunteers.

New Life Church has become a central gathering point for supplies since Monday night's tornado. Hallways are filled with personal items, different rooms stuffed with food, blankets, and clothes.

“People have literally been sending stuff from all over the country,” Pastor Blansit said.

They’ve also been coming from around the state to help.

“Seeing anything like this from your own eyes is totally different, it’s easy to think that won't happen to me until it happens," a University of Central Missouri student who made the 45 minute drive from Warrensburg said.

He helped one victim load belongings into a storage unit, other volunteers spent the day packing up supplies to deliver them door-to-door.

“Even though you are in a time of needing help it’s still hard to ask so to have people come by and say hey we are here to help it’s been amazing,” tornado victim Sari Williams said.

Victims met with volunteers for food and fun Friday night.

“Now that all the big organizations are gone, now it’s us. It’s our community and we are going to rally together," Pastor Blansit said

A long road still lies ahead for many victims, some without roofs, others without even the most basic hygiene items. Whatever is they need, the community says they’ll be there.

“That’s all replaceable what matters is we have each other and we’re still here,” Williams said.

With winter weather forecast Saturday, volunteers are asked to help tornado victims with last minute preparations starting at 10 a.m. until 12 p.m. You are asked to register in person at New Life Church at 801 SW Street in Oak Grove.